Dion Fearon has a passion for entrepreneurship. Jamaican born, Baltimore raised and L.A. based, Fearon is a self-starting, self-taught feature film and television producer who has now been in the entertainment business industry for the last 20 years.
Now she has added a second business—a line of scented candles through the Dion Fearon Collection. What makes her candles different is that they are hand-poured, 100 percent soy and eco-friendly. Soy candles burn about four times longer than wax candles and are soot free, allowing the fragrance to linger longer.
Candles are big business. Candle sales in the U.S. are estimated at about $2.3 billion annually, excluding accessories such as candlestick holders.
Among her products are Kendal, which has the fresh scent of grapefruit; Carlisle, which has a blend of English teas with citrus undertones; and Seville, a blend of tangy orange and Tahitian vanilla.
Fearon did a soft launch on October 1, 2013; the official launch will be in spring 2014. The products are sold online, but Fearon is looking to expand to specialty stores and for the holidays she is offering special promotions. With the promotional code: OPENING 20, customers will get you a 20 percent discount. We recently caught up with Fearon to discuss her business.
TNJ.com: Why did you want to start the collection?
Dion Fearon: I started this collection because I wanted to provide the consumer with truly fragrant candles that burn and leave lingering aromas in the air for more than just a few hours. I wanted to prolong the feeling one gets when their senses have been aroused.
TNJ.com: You are also a film producer. How are you juggling the two ventures?
DF: I am juggling my two businesses and a third...my 11 year-old son's company called DuckDumpling! I also run my non-profit organization, The ASHE Foundation and I’m writing a book entitled "Sunday Mornings," which is book one of a trilogy. At times, I find that there are not enough hours in the day. For the most part, I pace myself and try to divide my time equally between the different projects I am working on. But while this is not my main business, for the time being, this is the business that gets most of my attention. When you start a new company from the ground, it takes a lot of work to build it up.
TNJ.com: What has been a surprising business lesson you've learned from the venture?
DF: The most surprising thing I have learned about this venture is that consumers spend $2 billion dollars annually on just candles. That does not include the candle accessories. In 2014, I would like to have made $1 million in sales. I plan to launch the line on an upcoming reality show I will be appearing on.
TNJ.com: What are your long-term goals for the collection?
DF: My long-term goal for the collection is to have the collection in major retail stores like Macy's, Nordstrom and believe it or not I would love to have the line in Walmart. Nine times out of ten, where you will find a Walmart, you will not find a Macy's. I plan to expand the line to bed linens, towels, curtains and all things for the home at an affordable price.
TNJ.com: Any new film projects?
DF: I am currently developing a project called "Sistah Hood: 100 Miles and Running" with Idris Elba attached as the director. The project will be his feature film directorial debut.
TNJ.com: Please tell us more about the foundation?
DF: The ASHE Foundation is a non-profit organization I founded in 2008. We collect new and gently worn shoes, clothing and medical supplies that we distribute to disadvantaged men, women and children who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. There are countries we go to where children cannot get an education because they are not allowed in school without shoes. Crazy! But true! 15 percent of all sales from the collection goes back to ASHE. We live in this world together and if we all made a small effort to help others in need, this world will be a better place.
TNJ.com: What are you enjoying the most about starting up the Dion Fearon Collection?
DF: The thing I enjoy most about the collection is when I get phone calls or emails from my friends and customers telling me that the candles smell so good and that they really do leave the room smelling great! There is nothing like burning a great smelling candle; it makes me feel warm and cozy even on a hot summer's day. My favorite is the Halong Bay candle. I love the aroma of lemongrass; it was my grandmother's favorite scent. She passed away on November 3, 2012 at the ripe age of 102. Whenever I smell that scent burning, it makes me feel better on days I really miss her. As I stated, I would love to have my entire line in Walmart. Everyone deserves a bit of luxury in life and it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg...it should be affordable!